Niccolo Machiavelli had a grand vision of a man who would rule with cleverness and a steady hand when he wrote The Prince. Russia delivered a leader capable of taking power and controlling it in such a form as Machiavelli prescribed it. Vladimir Ilich Lenin was this man, he became the first leader of one of the most Machiavellian governments ever in existence, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Lenin represented the key principles of the Machiavellian idea.
When the Communist government finally started to function properly, Lenin managed to be both loved and feared as the head of the new state. Furthermore, he also managed to be greatly admired by his followers, Lenin’s way of command has carried on even after his time: Fidel Castro’s ways of governing are said to be influenced by Lenin, and of course Lenin’s follower in the government of Russia, Joseph Stalin also ruled Russia as if it was still on the hand of Lenin. However, this became possible due to the influence of the commandments set by Machiavelli in The Prince.
Machiavelli suggested that it is very important to be both loved and feared, although that seemed like an impossible task that would never be achieved. However Lenin’s work managed to make him a loved as well as feared ruler in the Saint Petersburg Union were he gained himself the reputation of a significant Socialist thinker and promoter of the proletariat. Machiavelli wrote that, “A Prince, so long as he keeps his subjects united and loyal, should not mind the reproach of cruelty,” (Machiavelli, p. 17). Lenin applied that theory by defeating his rivals in soviet Russia.
The fear they had for him which was due to his merciless destruction of rebel forces, or the “White Russians,” caused multiple responses, not only it inspire shock and respect, but also gave faith to the new government by the people of Russia. Together with this new tension was also the love that was felt for Vladimir Lenin by his followers. Lenin’s motivation for the revolution was to increase the standard of living for the common peasants in Russia including their entertainment and recreational lives as well.
This was another of many characteristic which gained flattering standing for the distinguished leader of the government. At his peak, Lenin was recognized as a Christlike liberator, releasing the Soviet Union from the imprisonment of imperialism. Machiavelli’s idea on how to gain renown from your people described Lenin’s ways perfectly; Of all the qualities that Lenin had, his never ending devotion to seeking his dream of Russian socialism was one of his most meaningful traits. He was very clever while making decision regarding the revolution of Russia, he never let the revolution be his personal ambition but more of a guide.
Also, it was said by Lenin’s close partners that he was a very short witted person, meaning he had fey patience for ignorance in people which apparently is an important quality if one has intentions of introducing a new government. It states in The Prince, that a ruler should “never let any Government imagine that it can choose perfectly safe courses rather let it expect to have to take very doubtful ones” (Machiavelli, p. 31). Lenin did almost exactly that by always preparing Russia for the worst case scenario and always trying to control all parts of the situations.
These are some reasons and examples why Vladimir Lenin was admired by his people as well as by other countries. However, Lenin did ignore some of the Machiavellian rules. Like it states in The Prince “above all, he refrains from taking the property of others, because men forget more quickly the death of a father than the loss of paternity. ” (Machiavelli, p. 45) When the Communist party came to power in Russia they took no notice of that paramount rule of Machiavellian government. What they did was take over the properties of landowners and handed it out to the proletariats.
Lenin also followed Communist ideology so profoundly that he ignored the human nature of the people which was another slip he committed. Lenin believed that the people would work for reasons besides their personal gains, however, they were proven wrong and the economic power of the country decreased which as a result caused the people to turn against the government. Lenin afterwards saved the government from falling by forming a new policy which reinserted great proportions of private interest into the economy.
In conclusion, Lenin was evidently for all one knows one of the most Machiavellian contemporary leaders. He was loved and feared at the same time by the ones he ruled, he trampled those whom hated and did not desire his new ways of government. He gained great admiration from his people for being a great commander and leader. Lenin was not flawless, and some of his mistakes could have risked the Soviet government’s position; however, these failures were corrected by the help he received from his partners and, of course, by his following Machiavelli’s commandments regarding the traits of a Prince.